Breathing is more than just an important part of living. If you breathe well you can experience calmness and increased stamina. This is especially essential for older adults who can benefit from the good health effects of practiced breathing. Did you know that your aging parent could lose up to 20 percent of their blood oxygen levels just from the natural course of aging? Proper breathing standards as part of a daily routine can really help put their oxygen levels back where they should be. Without enough, an elderly person can feel stiffness in their ribs, and feel sluggish during the day. Physical activity is a good idea, but exercising your parent’s lungs helps a lot.
6 Great Exercises to Help you breathe
Here are some exercises you can try with your elderly loved one. Do it with them as a time to be together, and a time to promote good health. You can repeat each of these for 3-5 minutes at a time, or until you feel relaxed.
- Complete breathing: for this exercise, have your senior parent stand up straight and exhale. Then inhale and relax your stomach muscles. Tell your mother or father to feel their belly expand and hold the breath for a second. Finally, exhale slowly and pull your belly in as the air leaves.
- Diaphragmatic breathing: this is most easily done lying on your back. Help your elderly parent lie down and place a hand on their navel. The other hand needs to be above it, on their stomach. Relax and breathe as your hand over your navel rises, then the other hand.
- Chinese breathing: take in three short breaths while raising your arms to shoulder height in front of you on the first breath, outward at shoulder height on the second breath, and above your head on the third one. When you slowly exhale, lower your arms down again.
- Humming breathing: use the same techniques as the complete breathing, only when you exhale, hum as the breath releases. Relax and pull in your belly muscles.
- Buteyko breathing: this is very useful for people who have asthma or other breathing problems. Start in a comfortable resting position. Instead of taking deep or normal breaths, concentrate on shallow breathing slowly through the nose. Doing this can slow the cycle of gasping, rapid breathing that most asthmatics experience during a stressful situation.
- Feet breathing: this is very relaxing, as much as a breathing exercise. As you breathe, concentrate on your chest and diaphragm moving in tandem at a normal speed. Close your eyes and imagine all stress and tension flowing down your body and leaving through your feet.
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